Finding Hygge: A documentary exploring Denmark's secret to happiness
Have you wondered what inspired us to take on this adventure? Here’s some background information on why we decided to start this journey in the first place and where we are in the process.
Like the world around us, a lot has changed over the last decade for 12 Stars Media. We grew from two to twenty Team Members and from producing videos within a ten-mile radius to internationally. By the end of 2017, our Team Members had visited a dozen countries, including Morocco, Denmark, Iceland, and the Philippines.
As we’ve grown, we’ve always looked for new ways to live out that convicting Spider-man mantra, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” That mantra is what ultimately led us on our journey to produce our first-ever feature-length documentary to share an amazing story that we believe can help change the world.
Every year at 12 Stars Media, we establish a theme. In the beginning, we didn’t know what the theme was until the year was over. Our first three years were: “Do anything for anybody,” “Do certain things for anybody,” and “Do certain things for certain people.” Today, we establish our themes in advance and use them to shape the path we take as a company throughout the year.
- 2015: Our theme was “Be the best at what we do,” and we kicked off the year by taking our team (a dozen at the time) to Disney World for a best-in-class experience.
- 2016: We focused on our organizational structure and processes to “Be the best at how we do what we do.”
- 2017: “Be the best in believing in why we do what we do” helped lead the way to our team’s decision to create Finding Hygge.
- 2018: This year, our theme is "Make It Worth It," and we're looking forward to sharing Finding Hygge so we can make it worth all the hard work we've put into it already!
We have a core belief - people need connections and the best connections come from communication that’s real and simple. It’s a good guiding principle for us, but like many purpose and mission statements, it’s pretty broad. In 2017, we asked our team to split up into groups and dream up ways to tackle top challenges and opportunities. Then, we voted using big Post-it notes and dot stickers to help us set clear priorities. One idea rose to the top – our team wanted to produce a documentary that could help change the world.
Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga)
In 2016, Zach (my co-founder) and I visited Denmark to meet with a few clients and potential clients. Right away, we noticed some differences between Denmark and America, beyond the architecture and language. Everything and everyone seemed less busy. In the middle of the workday, people were taking breaks in the park and lying in the grass soaking up the sunshine, not their smartphones. When dining out, a server will almost never bring you a bill until you ask, encouraging you to stay as long as you like.
This trip is when I learned about the word hygge. Although hygge is often translated as coziness, less than half of Danes believe hygge can be translated at all (according to Meik Wiking, author of "The Little Book of Hygge"). This concept stuck with me as a back-burner musing for months until our Team Members advocated so strongly for a documentary. The two streams of thought came together instantly, and the idea producing a film that explored the concept of hygge was underway.
Throughout 2017, our team visited and filmed in Manitoba, Canada; London, England; Colorado, USA; and all over Denmark.
We invite you to join the journey by using the hashtag #findinghygge when you share your own hygge experiences. We continue to use the hashtag during post-production, so you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the whole process and get to know our cast members.